Protect Your Identity
Identity theft seems to be fairly common these days and that terrifies me. I've had my car broken into once or twice and the thought of a crook digging through my personal stuff always bothers me more than the theft of my actual stuff. I can’t imagine the feeling of violation and helplessness if one were to steal my identity. Below are eight tips that I've been following to safeguard my identity. I urge you to form these habits if you don’t practice them already. Early detection of identity theft is good, but prevention is ideal.
1) Only carry essential documents with you. Leave your Social Security card, passport and birth certificate at home and locked up if you don’t need them.
2) Shred. Shred your receipts, bank statements and any other information that contains sensitive information.
3) Be cautious when giving personal information over the phone. It’s not uncommon for a thief to initiate a phone call posing as a bank or government agency. Don’t give out personal information unless you made the phone call.
4) Know what’s going on with your credit. Make sure your credit reports are accurate.
5) Try not to order new checks through the mail. If possible, pick your new checks up at the bank instead. Cut out the middleman and make it difficult for a thief to steal your checks.
6) Keep tabs on your credit card billing cycle. ID thieves can start their process by changing your billing address. Make sure you receive your bill every month.
7) Keep a list of account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers filed away. If your wallet is stolen, you’ll need to be able to alert your creditors.
8) Create smart passwords and PIN numbers. Randomly mix letters and numbers. Make it difficult for a criminal to crack your code.
Have you ever had your identity stolen? How do you Do you CU protecting your identity? We’d love to hear your story – please tell us below.